Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

Moody Mountains

As anyone who has traveled to Milford Sound in the Fiordland National Park on the southwestern side of New Zealand’s South Island will know, the further up the Hollyford Valley you travel, the steeper the surrounding mountains get. They loom above you as you approach the famous Homer Tunnel. In winter this road can become impassable because of snow avalanches cascading down the near vertical mountain faces.  In spring, as the snow thaws, rock avalanches can also close the road as a result of ice shattering rock during the winter freeze.

This extract from from the New Zealand topographical map of the area clearly shows the gradients of the surrounding mountains. (Click on link for larger view)

Homer Tunnel Topo, Fiordland, New Zealand

It was at the eastern entrance to the Homer Tunnel that these images were taken. The tunnel is the only way through the mountains to reach the Milford Sound by road. Entrance to the tunnel is controlled by traffic lights as there is just a 1.2 km single lane road through the Darren Mountains at the Homer Saddle. Until 1954 there was no road access to the Milford Sound.

Moody Mountains, Homer Tunnel, Fiordland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Moody Mountains, Homer Tunnel, Fiordland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Waterfall, Homer Saddle, Fiordland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

Moody Mountains, Homer Tunnel, Fiordland, New Zealand, Copyright Chris Gregory 2013

On the day we left Milford Sound via the Cleddau Valley and through the Homer Tunnel it became more overcast as we climbed further into the mountains.  By the time we reached the tunnel it was threatening to rain and the temperature had dropped considerably. As we exited the tunnel and into the beginning of the Hollyford Valley we were presented with these views.

7 responses

  1. Beautiful Chris. We did a helicopter trip up into the mountains for a picnic lunch when we were there and the views were extraordinary. We also did a bus, to a boat, to a bus to a boat to spend an overnight on Doubtful Sound and while the ordeal to get there seemed never-ending it was one of our most memorable adventures ever and well worth it. How lucky you are to have access to these gorgeous places!

    May 24, 2013 at 12:53 am

    • Tina, I’m glad you enjoyed the Doubtful Sound expedition. We first did it with our 3 boys when they were young (now all in their 30′s). It poured with rain, and was spectacular with waterfalls cascading off the shear rock faces. About 10 years ago we went there again and did the over-night cruise on the Fiordland Navigator in perfect weather – spectacular in quite a different way. Yes, we are lucky in NZ to have such a wide range of experiences so accessible. We still like to explore the world however, just to remind us how lucky we are :-) Looking forward to the National Parks of the SW USA in October.

      May 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

      • You will LOVE them. Very different from your corner of paradise for sure :-)

        May 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm

  2. We have fond memories of stopping at homer’s hut. The caretaker was very friendly and we wished we could have done a trek there. It was one of the highlights of our trip to NZ. Your photos capture the grandiose feeling we experienced.

    May 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    • Thanks for your comment Maureen. It is certainly spectacular country in the Fiordland area. We are looking forward to seeing your version of spectacular when we visit the Southwest in October, which will also include Yosemite and Yellowstone/Grand Tetons as a bonus.

      May 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      • Sounds like an exciting adventure
        We would love to meet up with you.

        May 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      • So would we. Will send details of our route and timings separately closer to time.

        May 26, 2013 at 4:13 pm

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